Okay, so for nine months you look forward to the time when everything will be back to ‘normal’ (meaning, of course, your wife will at least look at you without grinding her teeth and wincing). Then the great day arrives and the baby is born. As prepared as you are for your wife to throw herself at you in a wave of passion, you find that instead, she is throwing all of her energy into the silly, inexplicable things that mothers do such as feeding the baby, burping the baby and cleaning herself off.
So what you need is some way to come alongside her, enter into her baby world, share her joys and frustrations and hopefully get some attention along the way. When you show her that you are an expert at handling infants, you free her up to do what she REALLY wants to do: pounce on you! Sound difficult? Take heart, oh husband. All is not lost. With a few Life 101 tips under your belt, you should soon be on the express road to Smooch City.
BABY HANDLING 101 (Yes, this is for YOU)
To cut right to the chase, the time where you will shine most as an expert is when you help put your baby to bed.
‘Here, I’ll take him to his crib,’ you must offer in your most cheerful, manly voice. After all, you think to yourself, he already appears to be unconscious and once he’s in bed, you no longer have to share your wife.
You will note that the journey TO the nursery is relatively uneventful. The tot will remain curled up in your arms with the usual frown that all babies wear when they sleep. However, be careful. What you do next may mean the difference between a night of unbridled television watching and one where you stand outside the nursery door crying silently to yourself. You see, in some ways, babies are like explosives. They are unpredictable and are most dangerous when you try to move them. And this is precisely what you have to do: transfer the sleeping child FROM your arms TO his crib without disturbing him.
This is impossible.
I believe that babies, as you carry them close to your chest, can feel how your heart pounds as you approach your destination. They like this. They think it’s funny. They know that once you reach the crib, there is no physical way you can reach OVER the side and DOWN to the mattress (usually a distance of about two metres) without breaking a rib or dropping your package.
However you have to do it, do it and know that within two minutes the child will be crying. (Most do it right away; the really mean ones wait until you leave). So now you have a choice. You can choose to pick him up again and risk breaking another rib OR you can give him his soother.
Soothers (or pacifiers) are wonderful little inventions. The idea behind them is that they will offer some satisfaction and comfort when mom is not interested in providing either. The problem arises when you, standing in the pitch darkness, attempt to stick one into your screaming child’s mouth. You will miss. It will go into his eye, his ear and his pudgy, little cheek but you will never hit his mouth, no matter how hard or rapidly you jab as you lean over the side of the crib. This will only serve to make Junior cry EVEN HARDER which is good because with his mouth open so wide, you have a bigger target!
Now the baby is starting to calm down and you turn the monitor back on so that your wife can hear what’s happening. After you do that, take a look at your child and try to remember exactly HOW your wife told you to lay him down. On his back? On his side? On his tummy? Thankfully, there are a limited number of options or you would be there all night, not that that helps you right now. Right now you are trying to remember what your wife said as you left the room. What was it?
On his back,,,?
NO! On his side!
As panic sets in, the only thing that you recall is her telling you that if you lay him down wrong, HE COULD DIE.
This does not help.
Fortunately for you, the monitor picks up whining fairly well and before you know it, your wife is behind you.
‘Everything okay, honey? You’ve been up here for over an hour.’
You: ‘Umm…yeah, I was just sticking around to, you know, make sure he was alright and maybe organize the diapers.’
Your Wife: ‘I was hoping you would have come right back down. I wanted to cuddle. Oh well, it’s time to feed him again. Do me a favour and get him out of the crib?’
You: ‘ If my ribs don’t break, I think my heart just might.’